IAGenWeb Project - Allamakee co.

Bascom Escapes

The Davenport Gazette of Friday contains an interesting account of the escape of Capt. Elias W. Bascom, of the 5th Iowa, from Dixie, where he had been a prisoner for nearly a year. He was taken prisoner at the battle of Missionary Ridge and sent to Richmond, where he was locked, up in Libby Prison. There he was almost starved and thinks that had it not been for food sent from the North he would have perished. At length, he was sent to Charleston and placed under the fire of our batteries, but escaped injury, and was subsequently ordered to Columbia, S.C. but while on the way there he made his escape by jumping from the train while at full speed. He then started on his perilous journey for East Tennessee the nearest point to our lines. On the second or third night of his journey he was halted by some rebel pickets in the road he was traveling. Being a soldier he naturally thought of a countersign, but what should it be? Of the ten thousand words likely to be used, which was the magic one? The sesame to the rebel post? But he must decide, and that quickly, or he would be suspected. Advancing boldly up to the bayonet of the rebel he whispered, "Atlanta." "Right, pass on," was the response. He was saved this time, and passed through and out of the rebel camp." He was at one time pursued by bloodhounds, but managed to elude them, and finally reached our lines in safety. On his perilous journey he met many Negroes, who rendered him all the aid they could by guiding him through the country, giving him food, etc. Capt. Bascom is a resident of Lansing, in this State.

-source: Burlington Hawkeye November 26, 1864
-contributed by Cindy Lovell

Return to Military Records Index